8. Relieve some of your anxiety by planning for what you can.
There are many unknowns in our new normal. Will business shut down? What about the schools? Will yourself or someone you love become ill or have to self-quarantine? There are so many unknown possibilities that it can drive a person crazy. To be proactive in addressing and relieving some of the anxiety that comes with these unknowns, you should plan for what you can. Start by drafting a list of your specific worries. Then, make a list of potential solutions to each of these concerns.
It is important to note that you do not have to come up with a perfect solution but rather identify what could help you cope with these situations should they arise. For this exercise to be successful, you will also have to do some self-reflection and be honest with yourself. You may not be able to control every situation or worry, and it’s essential to recognize that some may always be beyond your control. Center your focus on the ones you can control by drafting an action plan. Don’t dwell on this action plan and try not to revisit it unless your situation has dramatically changed, and it may require adjustments, but find comfort in knowing you have a plan in place.
7. Getting out in nature can provide a peaceful calmness.
Sunshine and fresh air are natural mood boosters. Many of us have been social distancing and isolating for extended periods. Staying inside too long can further contribute to heightened anxiety levels and feelings of uneasiness. One of the easiest ways to help combat these feelings is to get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Try going for a short walk around your neighborhood or visit a local park. If you have a dog, take them outside and play catch for a little bit. Both of you will benefit from this small exercise.
Sunshine provides vitamins that are necessary for boosting your mood. As we near the winter months, it may not be as easy for some to get outside in nature. However, relish in the beautiful sunny days and bundle up to get a little fresh air. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much better you feel after spending even a short amount of time outside. Enjoy the sounds of nature, such as the birds chirping or the water’s waves. The natural sounds can provide a sense of calmness and tranquility in the chaos of our new normal.
6. Limit the frequency in which you check for updates on your phone.
We all wish to be informed and educated on the constant changes that are occurring around us. Guidelines and situations are changing from one day to the next. However, it is crucial to recognize that obsessively checking for updates can further heighten your anxiety levels and lead to increased feelings of distress and uncertainty. To help minimize and manage those feelings, you should be sure to limit how often you check for updates. Constantly checking for updates can be somewhat counterproductive. It can efficiently fuel your anxiety rather than decreasing it.
You know yourself best, so you will have to determine what your limits are. The limits are going to be different for everyone, so there is no right or wrong. The vital thing to monitor is that you should step away from the media if you are feeling overwhelmed. You may want to consider limiting your time to a particular duration and at a specific time. For instance, you might want to give yourself 30 minutes when you wake up to catch up on the latest news or maybe 30 minutes before you go to bed for the night. Either way, be sure to find what suits you best.
5. Anxiety right now is widespread. Do not let it control you.
As we head into the new normal where restrictions are gradually easing, we face new challenges. Even with the anticipation of resuming our prior activities, there can still be difficulties that impact our mental health. It is necessary to acknowledge that many of our feelings are reasonable, given the new territory. Thus, you could even expect that these feelings will arise. However, it is also important to note that even though the anxious feelings are likely to occur, they build tolerance that we can move through these fears.
It would help if you also were sure to recognize that not everyone processes situations or feelings the same. Comparison has been said to be the thief of joy, so you should even acknowledge that your concerns, feelings, and worries are valid. The most critical piece of acknowledging these worries is not to let them control you. We have already mentioned many ways to help alleviate some of your anxiety, including exercise or new hobbies. Take things at your own pace and challenge yourself to shift your mindset from one that dwells on worries to one that focuses on the positives. Celebrate big and small victories in your life.
4. Technology can be leveraged to help us stay connected to our loved ones.
Social distancing can heighten your anxiety by increasing feelings of loneliness and uncertainty. However, as we previously mentioned, it is important to look at the positive in the situation. Social distancing ensures that our loved ones and we are staying as safe and healthy as possible. With that said, it is still understandable that you or your close friends and family might experience moments of loneliness, which can further enhance anxiety levels. Technology allows us all to stay connected virtually while remaining safe in our homes.
Many avenues include email, phone calls, and video calls. Your grandparents might need a tutorial on how to utilize technology, but once they get the hang of it, they will be able to stay connected with the entire family too. You can host virtual video chats on Zoom so that you still get to experience dinners and holidays with your loved ones. Human connection has been proven to lower stress and anxiety levels. Even though this new normal is unique, it is still essential to learn new, innovative ways to stay virtually connected.
3. New routines in the midst of the new normal are good.
This new normal has many changes from our daily lives before this past year. Our routine may have been one that we were comfortable with and didn’t have to change too often. When the world fell apart in 2020, everything changed. As things reopen and a new normal is established, another new routine is necessary. Your daily routine may be completely different than it was before. For anxious individuals, routine and structure can be incredibly calming and peaceful. It provides a sense of control over what is about to come from the day.
As you adjust to the new normal, you can still have a routine, but it may require adjusting. You might find that you are adding time for your new hobby or some time for some meditation to relax throughout the day. If you are now working from home or you have children who may be doing remote learning, you might find yourself blocking time in your day to tend to those responsibilities. To prepare for the day, try adding an inspirational quote to your daily checklist.
2. Gather credible information to help you with your anxiety.
It’s important to stay informed of what is going on, but there is a fine line between staying informed and obsessively checking. You should stay on top of any changes occurring in your area to ensure you are adhering to any updated protocol. However, it is essential to be mindful of where you are getting your information and how often you are checking. There is much misinformation going around that can only enhance your anxiety levels.
Be sure that you are sticking to credible sources and only gathering factual, accurate information. Facebook is not the best place to collect your information because misinformation can quickly spread. If you struggle with obsessively checking, try having a trusted loved one share any critical updates that you should know about. They can share any updates pertinent to you to ensure you are doing your part in staying safe and healthy. Do your best to avoid any dramatic information circulated in the news, as it will only fuel anxious thoughts.
One of the best things you can do for yourself, regardless of the current state of the world, is to take care of yourself from the inside out. If you’re not sure where to start, try getting plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep or disrupted sleep can enhance anxious feelings. Set a goal for yourself to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. If you have a hard time winding down at night, research ways to help you relax and get ready for bed.
The second step is to ensure that you are eating a healthy diet. Avoid processed foods that can only cause you to lack energy. Instead, add foods rich in omega-3 fats, which will provide a natural mood booster. Self-care practices can also come in the form of a long bath or listening to your favorite music. There are many ways to care for yourself, so you just have to find the one that works for you. No matter what life throws at you, establishing these healthy self-care practices can help alleviate anxiety and prepare you to tackle any issues or situations thrown your way.